This will be on the back page of bulletin of the Fishkill United Methodist Church for 25 June 2017, the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost (Year A). It is based on the scriptures – Genesis 21: 8 – 21, Romans 6: 1 – 11, Matthew 10: 24 ‑ 39
To paraphrase Charles Dickens, these can be the best times or they can be the worst times. We live in a world that many people see as devoid of hope or opportunities.
And we wonder how we can change this; how can we bring hope and opportunity to the world?
We can do great things but that it is not possible when we see faith as an individual thing. When we do that, these times become the worst times.
You see, when we see our faith only in terms of what it means for us, when we hold onto our faith and do not share it, it becomes useless to us. And such a vision of faith makes it very difficult to understand the faith of others.
When we share our faith with others, it allows others to share their faith with us. And in this sharing of faith, opportunities arise.
One of the ethos of desert living was that one never turned away a stranger, even if that stranger might be an enemy. The desert was far crueler than any individual or group of individuals might be and there was an understanding that you helped those traveling in the desert and they would in turn help you.
That runs very much against human nature. We do not want to help our enemies or those who seek to do us harm. As Jesus pointed out to the Disciples in today’s Gospel reading, people were going to find fault with them because the message the Disciples presented was often in contrast to accepted beliefs. But Jesus told them to just do what they could do and let those results show the people the future.
This can be difficult, if for no other reason that it is so often in opposition to the “get it now” mantra of society. Put as Paul wrote, the key is patience – do what is expected of you and you will receive the rewards at the proper time.
This will be the back page for the Fishkill United Methodist Church bulletin on 11 June 2017, “Trinity Sunday (Year A). This is also Peace and Justice Sunday.
The key point about Genesis, at least for me, is not how God created the world but why He created it. The book of Genesis, in fact the entire Bible, is about our relationship with God and our relationship with others.
It would be worth considering the words of today’s Gospel reading. Often called the “Great Commission”, Jesus commands the disciples to go and make disciples of all the people. But in the Cotton Patch Gospel and the Message, this passage speaks of the disciples teaching people in the ways that they were taught.
We are called to begin anew, to teach others what we have been taught, and to work for a world of peace and justice. In the words of Senator Cory Booker,
Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all her children. Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.
In a world where people view confrontation and conflict as the solution, we need a new beginning. We need to seek opportunities to seek justice in new and peaceful ways. Today can be that day.